“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4, ESV)
If you followed me on social media over the summer, you might have read my following posts this summer:
June 20 – “A broken down car, a clogged drain, and a TV that won’t turn on. Not a good combination when I have my 3-year-old granddaughter Layla for a week.”
July 5 – “When you’re sick and your TV is broken, what do you do?”
July 11 – “First a broken car, then a broken TV, and now a broken phone. If any of you have been trying to reach me without success, that’s why. Try email. For now, my computer is working. Lol.”
I tried to infuse a little humor, but truthfully I didn’t think it was funny at all. Why was everything breaking down?
I was so frustrated, so stressed out, especially about my car situation. I called for help from my brother, my son, my parents, my pastor, my friends and several mechanics. I bought parts, replaced parts, but no part fixed the problem.
I had to cancel the outings I had planned for Layla during a week in late June when she visited. Instead, my time was consumed with making phone calls about my car and becoming more frustrated when I couldn’t even turn on a kids show to occupy her while I made the calls because the TV was broken.
When I became sick and housebound a couple weeks later and found myself still staring at a black TV screen, I began to question, “Why, Lord, is this happening? I have a broken car, a broken TV, broken plans, and now me.”
I picked up a strange virus and my skin broke out. I spent the Fourth of July in the ER (certainly not what I had planned for the Fourth), and when I was no better the following week, I couldn’t attend a four-day work-related workshop I had registered for months prior.
More broken plans.
Friends lent me their car, and others gave me a TV they weren’t using. I was grateful for their generosity and caring hearts.
Then I made a decision to purchase a “new” car. That’s when my phone broke during the process of shopping and negotiating.
I was at a loss.
Thanks to Wi-Fi, a computer, and our church’s caring Lead Pastor Tom Cogle, I found a way to communicate. But it certainly wasn’t convenient.
I was used to texting and playing games on my phone and found myself instinctively reaching for it throughout the day. But there was nothing I could do to change that black screen, except wait for my replacement that took 30 hours to show up, which I considered a ridiculously long time.
In the waiting, I questioned God again:
“Why are you allowing all this brokenness in my life? Is there a lesson in all this?”
This time I got my answer.
“Brokenness in your life? You are fretting over broken stuff. Stuff that can be replaced. But what about broken lives?”
I saw it on my replacement TV. I read about it on my tablet and my laptop. Another senseless shooting. Another horrific attack of violence. Police officers. Innocent civilians. More shattered lives. More broken hearts.
When will it stop?
Suddenly, I felt ashamed.
Here I am griping over material possessions that don’t work when there are far greater problems in this world. Families who have lost loved ones. Others who are worried over whether theirs will come home.
I read the hashtags: #blacklivesmatter #whitelivesmatter #bluelivesmatter.
All lives matter!
Those that are injured matter. Those that are grieving matter.
With my hand clasped over my mouth, I stared blankly at breaking news footage. I groaned when I saw the faces of the lost, when I looked into the eyes of the hurting.
But what can I do about all this brokenness, Lord?
In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)
I had become so self-absorbed, looking only to my own interests — even posting about it on social media.
Oh, Lord, forgive me. What can I do?
Perhaps I can become more like those who reached out to me by giving of my time and resources.
Perhaps I can call the local police station, like the gentleman on the news did, to thank them for their service. He also told them to stop by when they were in the neighborhood for a cold glass of water.
Or maybe I can be more like my friend, Jeff Gagliano, owner of Aire Care Service Co., who posted on social media his company promise to pick up the tab for police officers when spotted at convenience stores and restaurants. He also offered complete labor-free seasonal HVAC service for any active officer in the month of July.
But even if I don’t have the resources to make an offer like Jeff, I can at least say thank you. I can use social media in a new way, shifting the focus from myself to the interests of others. I can reach out to thank my Facebook law enforcement friends and others who serve to protect our country.
And the best thing I can do is pray — pray for the families of those slain, for the recovery of those injured, for the safety of those serving and for peace in our nation and throughout the world.
Won’t you join me?
Thank you for caring about every detail of our lives. (Psalm 37:23b)
No concern is too small or too great for you to handle. (Luke 1:37)
You provide replacements for broken things and restoration for broken people. (Psalm 147:3)
You use our circumstances to teach us and jolt us into action. Thank you for using mine to speak to my heart and to give me examples of how to lovingly minister to those in need.
Desiree’s blog can be accessed at http://www.desireeglass.blogspot.com
Inside Look @ Our Featured Blogger:
Desiree has attended Calvary Grace for over 20 years. She is in her 13th year as a Career & Technology Education Teacher at Chopticon High School in St. Mary’s County. Her blogging career began in 2009, and she has written for numerous publications and Web sites such as Guideposts, Christiandevotions.us, Pen In Hand (Maryland Writers Association publication), Connections (College of Southern Maryland literary magazine), First Place 4 Health’s national newsletter, Dragonfly magazine and The Times-Crescent newspaper in Charles County.